USSD charges: MTN shuns FG’s directive

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MTN Nigeria on Sunday said it will go ahead to charge its customers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) voice or text message which allows them access to bank services via their mobile phones.

The Central Bank of Nigeria over the weekend opposed plans by MTN to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data access to banking services from Oct. 21, saying the Apex bank will not all that to happen.

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele told newsmen that “about five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.

“At that time, we came to a conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost.

“What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company. But the telecom companies disagreed with us.

“They said it was an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason, they needed to impose it. I have told the banks will not allow this to happen.

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Also, the federal government asked MTN Nigeria and other mobile operators to suspend the four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services.

But MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21, despite all directives, Daily Trust reports.

MTN’s subscribers on Sunday received messages from the company informing them that with effect from today, it will start charging them N4 per 20 seconds for USSD voice or N4 for text message.

“Yello, as requested by your bank, from Oct 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.’’

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